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From Ecclesiastical Latin superintendens, a calque of Ancient Greek ἐπίσκοπος (epískopos); thence being a distant cognate of English bishop.


  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌsjuːpəɹɪnˈtɛndənt/, /ˌsuːpəɹɪnˈtɛndənt/
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superintendent (plural superintendents)

  1. A person who is authorized to supervise, direct or administer something.
  2. (Commonwealth of Nations) A police rank used in Commonwealth countries, ranking above chief inspector, and below chief superintendent.
    • 1928, Lawrence R. Bourne, chapter 7, in Well Tackled![1]:
      “No, don't,” replied the superintendent; “in fact, I'd rather you made yourself conspicuous elsewhere. Go down to the landing stage and cross to New Brighton or Wallasey—doesn't matter which—and come back. No doubt you will be seen, and reported to have gone across.”
  3. The manager of a building, usually a communal residence, who is responsible for keeping the facilities functional and often collecting rent or similar payments, either as also the building's landlord or on behalf of same. Often abbreviated "super".
  4. The head of a Sunday school.
  5. In some Protestant churches, a clergyman having the oversight of the clergy of a district.
  6. (chiefly US) A janitor.


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superintendent (not comparable)

  1. Overseeing; superintending.